Academic Master's & PhD
Below is a suggested timeline (alumni and those who have considered applying before may have a more compressed timeline of around 9-12 months; adjustments should also be made for those applying to programs with a Spring or Summer start date):
- Consult with faculty/advisors regarding interests and the nature of graduate study you might like to pursue. Begin identifying professors under whom you would like to study and who could serve as your dissertation advisor.
- Research potential programs. Look up information and be in touch with schools, including department coordinators, faculty, admissions offices, and financial aid offices. Note deadlines, including those for funding.
- Open a Credentials File at Career Services. Begin asking for letters of recommendation from faculty and perhaps previous employers.
- Register and prepare for the appropriate graduate admissions test (most likely the general GRE and possibly a subject GRE). Be mindful of minimum time required for testing services to report scores.
- Begin drafting personal statements so that you have time to get feedback from Career Services and your adviser(s) before applying. Working on this early will also help you clarify your focus as you research schools.
The Fall before you would like to start (e.g. Fall 2009 for Fall 2010 entry):
- Narrow down your list of schools. Get in touch with departments so you can speak to current students. Visit schools if possible.
- Obtain additional letters of recommendation. Submit requests for letters to be sent from the Credentials Service at least 3 weeks in advance of any application deadline.
- Order transcripts from Princeton and any other colleges/universities you’ve attended.
- Finalize personal statements and other application material and send, along with financial aid applications as necessary:
- Wait for admission decisions and follow up as needed.
- As you hear back, evaluate your options. Be prepared to consider multiple acceptances (How will you decide?) as well as no acceptances (What is your contingency plan?).
- Once you have made a decision, notify other programs of your choice.
- Send thank-you notes to those who wrote your recommendation letters, informing them of your plans.